Kid Power


That used to be an oxymoron (or a non sequitur). The thought was absurd. Kid Power? Why? When you got power you weren't a kid anymore.

Kids in fiction had power. Superboy and Batman's sidekick, Robin, beat up adults. Ethics were a little better defined at mid century and kids like Superboy and Robin beat up bad adults. Today's kids are stronger and ethics are fuzzy so they are often seen beating up good adults.

Power is a weapon. Even adults aren't too reliable or predictable when they have weapons (power) at their disposal.

Some hustler came up with the slogan that was sure to benefit whatever he was selling and kids took the idea much more seriously than he did. "Kid power" became a rallying cry. The stampede to buy widgets or geeberfletzels wasn't the end. Kid power became pervasive. It was to the economy a market that parents alone couldn't support. A lot of other things were affected as well. Some twelve year olds are getting more sex than their parents. A lot of twelve year olds are doing drugs and twelve year olds who sell drugs are making more money than school-teachers and artisans. If all the kids would die the music industry would shrivel up and entertainers would have to sweep streets to make a living.

In the long run kids are better off underpaid than overpaid. It's too late to reverse things now. Things will continue to tilt their way until apocalyptic resolution occurs. Nature has its way of balancing things: like the plague or the children's crusade. See, there's hope.

Meanwhile, if the guy who invented the catchword "Kid Power" is dead, a good idea would be to do what the English did to Oliver Cromwell after he lay in the ground for a few years.


When we were very young there were angels in our world. Religions spoke of angels. They were first recognized by the Jews. Catholics had guardian angels and there was one for every kid. Somewhere along the way kids would grow up and their guardian angels would be unemployed until reassignment time. Protestants were vague. Some parents admitted that angels hung around the nursery. But most transferred the title to their own children when they were well behaved. Angel simply meant good.

Protestants seemed to worry about any comparison of thought that would make them sound Jewish or Catholic. That's why they were called protestants, I guess. They bitched about anything and they threw away a lot of good old ideas just so no one would think they were Jews or Catholics in mufti.

Episcopalians seemed to have been caught between two worlds. They retained their saints but didn't know who they were. The angels were mentioned in their liturgy (with archangels) but were treated like hangovers. In recent years the Episcopalians got trendy and replaced older saints with new icons: Oscar Wilde, Dr. Ruth, Woody Allen, Frederich Perls, Sinead O'Connor. That's the intellectual side. Goodness might be measured by the lives of mystics: Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa. But Schweitzer is forgotten by younger folks. King persists because it's vogue. Mother Teresa became too delicate to talk about when Bishop Spong's protege, a Mr. Williams, suggested the good nun might do well to get laid.

Angels have been phased out of children's understanding. Kids might be looked after by meaner spirits.

Our familiarity with angels was enriched by visuals. They looked nice in Tiffany windows. Their marble likenesses guarded tombs. Some were fierce, like Michael with his great sword. They had neat wings. They were accepted even though we never saw them. But we didn't look for them like we did for Santa Claus on a winter night guiding a sleigh full of goodies. Santa was exposed as an invention and we accepted that. But angels?

It's assuring to think that someone might look after us.


I should have pursued cartography. Maps wear out faster than socks and pencils and the affections of teen-agers.

The Treaty of Locarno might have put a lot of cartographers out of work if it was honored. But spoil-sports moved some national borders around and that kept a lot of map-makers a busy lot. I think that among the countries of Europe only the Swiss weren't bothered with new readjustments at home and abroad regarding territory.

The industry is healthy enough to survive wars, revolutions and putsches. Political maps are in demand, even in stabilized periods. Their companions are physical maps that are constantly updated because advanced societies like ours don't go stagnant. New roads, new cities and towns, new industrial developments will be noted.

The only casualty in map making was the free ones found on travel racks at gas stations. They cost a few bucks now and they're not as pretty as they used to be.

Today there is still (as there always have been) a bargain for map readers. Daily newspapers worth their salt still print good informative maps of where the action is. People with communicative skills, at least a semblance of a library at home and who can put their legs into their pants at least one at a time should cut out maps from their newspapers and paste, tape, or photo-copy them into nice scrap-books. When the less informed ask where Philadelphia or the Suez Canal or Katmandu or Mandalay are, you or I can whip out the map and tell them some little tidbit that caught the attention of a correspondent. The map would become part of the known world. Like a picture, a map is worth a million words.



A guide to places where I breathed the air, ate food, used the loo, and had converse with people who were good, or who were bad, or who were just inconsequential. If I was important, like George Washington, future chroniclers might have put up a plaque here and there.